The NCAA Division II Committee on Infractions (“COI” or “Committee”) is an independent administrative body comprised of individuals from the NCAA Division II membership and the public charged with deciding infractions cases involving member institutions and their staffs. This case involved financial aid violations within the women’s soccer program at Clarion University of Pennsylvania (“Clarion” or “CU” or “institution”), as well as a head coach responsibility violation by the former head women’s soccer coach (“head coach”). COI considered this case through the cooperative summary disposition process in which Clarion, the head coach and the NCAA enforcement staff agreed to the primary facts and violations as fully set forth in the summary disposition report (“SDR”). COI proposed additional penalties for Clarion and a show-cause order for the head coach. Clarion and the head coach accepted the additional penalties. Therefore, neither party has the opportunity to appeal.
The head coach agreed that between March 2017 and August 2018, he violated financial aid legislation by providing impermissible financial aid agreements to 19 prospective and current women’s soccer student-athletes. Specifically, in March 2017, the head coach created and distributed letters to nine prospects that promised multiple years of athletics aid, contrary to legislation which limits financial aid agreements to one-year terms. In addition, between April and August 2018, the head coach signed and issued athletics aid agreements to a total of 10 incoming and current women’s soccer student-athletes without first obtaining the required signature of Clarion’s director of financial aid, or Clarion’s official designee. The head coach agreed that his direct involvement in the violations demonstrated that he failed to promote an atmosphere for compliance and violated head coach responsibility legislation. His actions disregarded fundamental membership requirements surrounding the administration of financial aid and violated the trust of his student-athletes. Clarion and the head coach agreed that the violations occurred and that they are major.
The Committee concluded that CU committed the following violations:
Violations of NCAA Division II Manual Bylaws 22.214.171.124, 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52.1 (2016-17) and 184.108.40.206 (2017-18 and 2018-19)
Clarion, the head coach and the NCAA enforcement staff agreed that in March 2017, the head coach provided impermissible written offers of athletics aid to nine women’s soccer prospective student-athletes. Additionally, between April and August 2018, the head coach signed and issued impermissible athletics aid agreements to 10 women’s soccer student-athletes.
In March 2017, the head coach sent letters promising multiple years of athletics aid to nine women’s soccer prospective student-athletes. All nine women’s soccer prospective student-athletes enrolled at the institution in the fall of 2017. NCAA Bylaws 220.127.116.11, 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124.1 (2016-17).
Between April and August 2018, the head coach signed and issued written offers of athletics aid to 10 student-athletes without the signature of the chair of the regular committee or other agency for the awarding of financial aid to students generally, or the chair’s official designee. NCAA Bylaw 126.96.36.199 (2017-18 and 2018-19).
Violations of NCAA Division II Manual Bylaws 188.8.131.52 (2016-17 through 2018-19)
Clarion, the head coach and the NCAA enforcement staff agreed that in 2017 and 2018, the head coach is presumed responsible for the violations detailed above and did not rebut the presumption of responsibility. Specifically, the head coach did not demonstrate that he promoted an atmosphere for compliance due to his personal involvement in the violations.
As a result of the foregoing, the Committee penalized CU as follows: